Geeks Unite! Android Developers Trying Union Approach



And you thought that only Wisconsin was having union issues huh?

According to a report on The Next Web, some Android developers have had enough of trying to get Google to move on certain things so they have formed a union. (If there are any Rush fans reading, I can’t help but hum “The Trees” while writing this).

A group of Android developers have formed the Android Developers Union, a movement that intends to protest Google’s Android Market policies.

The group has made seven demands and claims that its members will, if demands are not met, move to other platforms and attempt to dissuade fellow developers from working with the Android platform.

The Android Developers Union‘s seven demands are as follows:

  1. Re-negotiation of the 32% Google-tax on application sales
  2. Remedy to the order of entry effect
  3. Public bug tracking
  4. Increased payment options
  5. Codified rules and a removal appeal process
  6. Communication and engineering liaison
  7. Algorithmic transparency

All of these areas are hashed out in more detail at the site.

If Google doesn’t give in? Here’s the proposed action by union members:

If our demands are not met, we will move our applications to alternative marketplaces or the web, cease Android development in favor of other more open platforms, we will dissuade other developers from developing Android projects, and we will work tirelessly to counter any of Google’s hypocritical claims about Openness in the media.

While I think it’s a noble idea to demand equal rights I wonder if this will turn into more of a publicity stunt for a few developers or if this would ever stand a chance of getting enough Android developers to drop their work so that Google meets their demands. Most are just trying to make a living so going on a work stoppage right now might make it a bit tough for long term viability of a small business.

It’s obvious that the developer communities of both Android and Apple platforms aren’t happy for a lot of different reasons. The trouble in the Internet space though is that although it sounds great that anyone can hang out a shingle and start a business, those businesses are more often than not, third party dependent. Even tougher is that Google, Apple, Facebook and Twitter represent the only third parties that most are hitching their wagons to thus the balance of power is not so balanced. Much of the success of these companies have been built on the backs of developers but that was the developers’ choice, right? There has been a lot of trouble with all major players and their developer communities but the major players are holding all the best cards.

This imbalance leaves the door open for these four giants to tell developers its their way or the highway. While we love the David v. Goliath stories where the giants are slain I truly doubt that an effort like this would gain enough support to truly impact the marketplace.

Fortunately, there is plenty of room to be wrong and to misread things in the Internet space. Who knows, maybe in the future an army of developers could turn the tables and bring the big boys to their knees. Why not, right?

So good luck to the union organizers. One advantage they may have is that since Google is so human interaction averse these folks might be able to do things the old fashioned way and run circles around Google’s algorithm of life. One never knows, do one?